Mayor Eric Adams on Monday responded to police union criticism of the city’s plan to return to single-officer patrols in the subway system, saying that the change will not affect every assignment.
“During the midnight and the overnight hours, we're going to make sure that officers are put in a safe place,” Adams said during an interview on 1010WINS. “We're not going to do anything that's going to jeopardize the safety of officers or the safety of the public.”
He explained that the rule would not be a “blanket” policy, which is yet to be rolled out by NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. It’s unclear when the change will take effect.
“This is a strategic way,” he added.
The decision to end the practice of pairing up police officers who patrol the subways was revealed by the mayor on Friday and could pose an early test of his relationship with the NYPD.
News of the new policy immediately sparked sharp pushback from the Police Benevolent Association (PBA).
Patrick Lynch, the president of the PBA, said the move would endanger officers because of the lack of immediate backup. Although Adams said the decision was not due to budget concerns, Lynch argued otherwise, saying the city was “spreading overstretched resources even thinner” and that the plan would drive officers to quit.
Around 3,500 officers patrol the subways every day, according to NY1.
That includes the additional 1,000 officers added under Adams. Transit crime has increased 55% compared to the same period last time. High-profile incidents include the fatal shoving of an Asian American woman and a mass shooting on the N train.
Still, ridership has steadily come back, with a one-day total of 3.6 million riders on May 18th. That number set a record high since the pandemic began.
A former transit officer, Adams has argued that he can better police the city through deploying officers more efficiently. Under the budget passed by the City Council this month, NYPD funding remains relatively flat, with no new hires.
The mayor has pointed out that the NYPD has historically used single patrols. The change happened after the 2014 ambush killing of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were shot in their squad cars.
Adams told 1010WINS that he respected Lynch’s role for protecting his members and that the two have worked well together.
But he added: “Some things we agree on, some things we are going to disagree on.”